Near Burkesville in Cumberland County, Kentucky — The American South (East South Central)
Skirmish at Norris Branch
The Great Raid
July 2, 1863
The Confederate cavalrymen left the Courthouse Square in Burkesville and galloped out the Glasgow Road toward the Union camp. After engaging Union pickets, the scouts were joined by the 9th Tennessee Cavalry and supported by the 6th Kentucky Cavalry.
Here at Norris Branch, Morgan surprised the advance elements of a 300-man Union cavalry column with rifle and artillery fire. The Federals quickly turned their mounts and headed back down the road. With a whoop, the Rebels tore after the bluecoats.
The ensuing route raised a cloud of dust, preventing the Southerners from seeing that Union regiment had formed in the line of battle. One of Quirk's scouts spotted the enemy and grabbed the reins of General Morgan's horse, stopping the charge. The Yanks fired a volley at short range, so surprising Maj. William P. Elliott
"When the enemy realized the smallness of the force that was chasing them, they halted in a strong position and showed fight;but out General...was too shrewd for them.
"Quickly detaching a single scout around to their left flank secretly, with orders to fire his gun (rifle) and navies (pistols) in rapid succession into their line. ...Back they flew again, using their spurs...
"Morgan on his horse, Glencoe, was riding behind the scouts, hat in hand, cheering the boys with "Charge them, boys; charge them!"" Kelion Peddicord
This skirmish cost Morgan his chief scout. Tom Quirk's wound forced him to return to Tennessee just as the Great Raid was beginning. Two days later, at Tebbs Bend, the Confederates paid a great price for poorly scouting a strong Union position.
Erected by Kentucky Heartland Civil War Trails Commission.
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: War, US Civil. In addition, it is included in the John Hunt Morgan Heritage Trail in Kentucky series list. A significant historical date for this entry is July 2, 1863.
Location. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Burkesville KY 42717, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 6 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Smith Pharmacy (approx. 2.7 miles away); Raiders Entered Here (approx. 2.7 miles away); Lincoln's Father Here (approx. 2.7 miles away); Cumberland County (approx. 2.7 miles away); Morgan On To Ohio (approx. 2.7 miles away); Burkesville Ferry (approx. 3.1 miles away); Confederate Crossings at Neeley's Ferry (approx. 4½ miles away); Civil War Camp at Marrowbone (approx. 5.9 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Burkesville.
1. Norris Branch Question
My ancestors lived in Cumberland County Kentucky. Do you know why this is called Norris Branch? Thank you.
Editor: Many Civil War battles and skirmishes were named after local features and towns. Small streams are often called branches as they branch off a larger river or creek. More than likely this is why this skirmish was named the Norris Branch Skirmish. After many years the stream may have dried up. There is a Norris Branch (shown at GPS coordinates 36.859196, -85.553067) less
— Submitted January 14, 2022, by William D Norris of Lincoln, Nebraska.
Credits. This page was last revised on January 19, 2022. It was originally submitted on October 18, 2016, by Tom Bosse of Jefferson City, Tennessee. This page has been viewed 525 times since then and 7 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on October 18, 2016, by Tom Bosse of Jefferson City, Tennessee. • Bernard Fisher was the editor who published this page.